Struggling to keep members, NOW picks O'Neill
Terry O'Neill / Latifa Lyles
Terry O'Neill / Latifa Lyles

.- In a close election, members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) voted last weekend to elect Terry O’Neill as their new president, despite concerns that younger leadership may be necessary for the organization’s survival.

O’Neill, 56, is an attorney who served as NOW’s vice president for membership from 2001 to 2005.  In her campaign, she said she would focus on grassroots organizing and membership recruitment as the pro-abortion group struggles to add new members.

“The press releases, the media exposure, invitations to the White House -- these are excellent things, but they're not enough,” she said.  “It's going to take well-organized, grassroots movement to advance our agenda.”

O’Neill, who will take office on July 21, describes herself as “honored and eager” to take over leadership of the organization.  However, statements from her opponent’s campaign reveal concerns about the age and relevance of NOW as a force in the modern world.

Running against O’Neill was Latifa Lyles, former Vice President of NOW who also has a background in grassroots organizing.  Support for the two candidates was narrowly divided.

Both women supported a “feminist” agenda that includes increasing access to abortion and birth control, however Lyles claimed she could also offer the organization a much-needed  image makeover that would encourage participation from a broader range of women.

As a 33-year-old African American, Lyles ran a campaign emphasizing youth and diversity.  Supporters hoped she would be able to draw in younger members and revitalize the movement, whose current membership is mostly white and over age 40.  

“The profile of NOW is just as important as the work we do,” Lyles said. “There are a lot of antiquated notions about what feminism is.”

Lyles was seen as a figure who could modernize NOW.  Her campaign website spoke of working with “new technology” and trying to “reenergize feminist activists.” Among important goals, she listed an increase in membership, including “the recruitment of young women and women of color, both as members and leaders.”

New York Times bestselling author and feminist Nancy Redd also endorsed Lyles as the best option to “renew faith” in NOW.  In her endorsement, Redd acknowledged that membership growth had “stagnated” and that thousands of similarly-minded activists “dismiss involvement with NOW, not seeing our organization as ‘for them.’” 

With Lyles’ defeat last weekend, pro-abortion feminists are pinning their hopes on O’Neill.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: